FOX smartly decided that the world needed a reprieve from Terra Nova, and actually came up with a good idea. “Let’s put a show that’s actually good on for once!” must have been uttered by some up-and-coming VP of programming, and whoever it was should get a raise for Alcatraz, which had a double-episode premiere tonight. We have two back-to-back episodes to get through, so let’s get started.

Jack in the Box

We are told right from the get-go that 302 prisoners and guards mysteriously disappeared from Alcatraz the night before it closed. One of these men was Jack Sylvane. Jack wakes up one day in a solitary cell only to find that Alcatraz is no longer feared, but instead a popular tourist trap. The fact that a place that was once feared now has a gift shop makes Jack want to go on a murderous rampage. Well, that may not be the exact cause, but I’m sure that went through Jack’s mind.

The first victim of Jack’s is E.B. Teller, who was once the Deputy Warden of the prison when Jack was there. It seems that Jack and Tiller didn’t really get along, so Jack took matters in his own hands and killed the now elderly man. Detective Rebeca Madsen is called on the scene, but is soon taken off by Agent Hauser, from the FBI. Madsen has been having a bad week, having lost her partner recently, and she decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate the case herself. She finds Jack’s fingerprints, and goes to talk to Doc Soto, played by Hurley from Lost, who is an expert in the history of Alcatraz.

Welcome to the Team

Doc tells Madsen he can take her to a hidden room he found on the island that was full of boxes and files. They get to the island and break into the room only to be greeted by a gas grenade. They pass out and wake up to find Hauser, and his assistant Lucy, looking over them in a secret bunker under Alcatraz. Madsen and Hauser share information they learned about Jack, when they find video of him attacking Tiller. The only problem is that Jack hasn’t aged at all in almost 50 years.

While they are putting the puzzle pieces together, Jack decides to go out and kill two cops, followed by robbing a man named Flynn and killing him. He didn’t want Flynn’s money, but a weird looking key instead. J.J. Abram’s fingerprints are showing themselves more and more as this episode is progressing. Madsen and Hauser get called to the crime scene, where Madsen tries to chase Jack down but loses him. They learn taht jack’s brother married his wife while Jack was gone, so they go there to look for him.

Jack appears at his brother Allen’s house, and meets him nephew Allen Jr., and they are both around the same age. Allen sees his brother and is shocked. Jack ties up Allen Jr., and pulls a gun on Allen. Madsen soon finds Jack at his ex-wife’s grave. Jack is shot and taken into Hauser’s custody.

Forbidden Roots

Hauser takes Jack into a secret new bunker that will act as the new Alcatraz for all of the inmates that they find from 1963. Hauser is acting as the new warden, and he seems to be no better than Tiller was to Jack. Back in the office, Madsen learns that her grandfather was also an inmate on Alcatraz and was in fact the one who killed her partner. This thing is getting more twists than a pretzel factory.

Hauser agrees to bring Madsen on to his team to help track down all of the re-appearing fugitives, and she wants Doc to be her new partner. An unconventional choice, but I guess that Jorge Garcia was promised a big role after being under utilized on Lost.

Crazy on the Cobb

It’s a good thing that they just caught Jack, because as soon as they have him put away, Ernest Cobb comes into the present. Cobb is a true psychopath who killed 16 people all over the country with a sniper rifle. Not only is he a demented killer, but he also looks exactly like Giovanni Ribisi.

It seems that there is only one thing that makes Cobb happy, besides seeing people die from his gun, and that is to be left alone in peace and quiet. He actually asked to be moved to The Rock (which is always in the voice of Sean Connery in my head) because each inmate had his own cell.


It seems that Cobb also loves numbers. He always killed in three day bursts, and when shooting his prey he keeps repeating the number 47 and counting to four. I was so ready for a 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 but they never came. Cobb gets to work and kills three people at a carnival. The police start their search which alerts Hauser and his team to check it out.

Doc uses his knowledge about Cobb to lead them to a gun store where they watch video footage and notice that he has a key to a motel. They immediately go to the Motel and search for Cobb before Hauser arrives to help. The room they search is empty, but when Lucy opens the curtains to a window, Cobb is waiting from another building and shoots her. Hauser arrives just as Lucy is being taken away and he is pissed.


Hauser goes to talk to Jack in the new secret prison, but he gets no answers from him. I guess being a mean warden makes it hard to get answers out of your inmates. Speaking of bad warden, we are introduced to Warden James, the man in charge of Alcatraz in the 1960s. he makes the Warden from Shawshank look nice in comparison, and is a character I can’t wait to see more of.

While he is talking to Jack, Doc and Madsen find that Lucy was making a database about Cobb and start to work on finding him. They notice that during all of Cobb’s rampages, there is always a teenage female victim. They head to the island to learn moer about Cobb, but come up with nothing. Doc then finds a letter from Eloise, who was Cobb’s sister, even though they never met. It seems as though Cobb saw his mom, who left him, with Eloise and was mad that his mom chose her instead of him.

The Plot Thickens

While Madsen and Doc are learning more about Cobb, Cobb himself is shooting more innocent people at a mall. I must applaud Fox here for actually showing how gruesome being shot by a large bullet is. There is nothing held back, and it makes me wonder why more shows on network television push the envelope.

Cobb is eventually tracked down and arrested by Hauser, who immediately shoots him in the hand to stop him from shooting ever again. I wouldn’t trust this Hauser guy, but he survived going to Jurassic Park so I guess he demands respect. Before the episode ends, we get on final mind blowing twist and learn that Lucy was Cobb’s psychiatrist while on Alcatraz in 1960. What the what?!?!

I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to watching this show, but I’m sold. This has the chance to be the next big hit and can’t wait to see where this story goes. The only thing that can go wrong is that it gets too overly complicated and we find out everyone was dead the whole time on the island. But it’s not like Abrams has a history of that happening…

Oh, wait.

Chase Gamradt
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV